• Simon Rushby

Ya Tira Tiri Ya Hamama by Rouwaida Attieh

#listeneveryday 19 Feb 2021


We see much about the troubles in Syria, so I wanted to bring some balance by sharing some of the beautiful music from the region. Vocal music is very popular, with examples ranging from adhan (call to prayer) chanted by muezzin to popular songs which regularly appear in films.


Ya Tira Tiri Ya Hamama (Fly, fly away, my dove) is a traditional Syrian song with lyrics that come from the classical poetry of Andalusia in Southern Spain, which was a largely Islamic region from the 8th century until the end of the Middle Ages. It is an example of the poetic and musical genre of muwashshah, which has its roots partly in Aleppo, and features a singer accompanied by an ensemble of instrumentalists who also sing a refrain.


The song was popularised by legendary Syrian singer Sabah Fakhri, who performed it regularly from the mid 1960s onwards (he is now 86 years old). This performance is by Rouwaida Attieh, a runner-up on the Middle Eastern version of Pop Idol. She was born in Syria to a Libyan father and Lebanese mother who met in Egypt, so you could say she is a perfect example of a Pan-Arabian artist. Since her success in 2003 she has enjoyed great popularity.


I love the obvious joy these musicians get from performing the song, which also includes the Oud - probably the most common stringed instrument in the region - a violin and a tambourine-type instrument called a daf.


More to listen to

Here's another version of the same song, by popular Syrian singer Zein Al-Jundi







Here's some music for Oud, played by Negar Bouban, an Iranian Oud player.



A new #listeneveryday post is published every weekday! Comment below or tweet @SimonRushby with your suggestions for future music.

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